I learned to hate rotaries, round abouts, whatever the hell you want to call them. Damn the British. Why? That is what got us lost at the Milan airport on our way to Tuscany. GPS: In 200 yards please enter the rotary and take the 10th exit on your right…Okay that’s an exaggeration. It was the 5th exit on the right. Problem is the GPS doesn’t tell you that it counts as one of the 5 your entrance point as one of the exits. How many times did it take for us to figure that one out? I’m embarrassed to say. I began to hate looking at the GPS and the arrow goes from red, meaning you’re on the right track, to yellow, meaning you took the wrong exit again, you moron. The GPS also teaches you that when it says take a “sharp right” or “sharp left” it really means “sharp right” or “sharp left”. It also probably means you are entering a two way street wide enough for one car. Alrighty then. Who backs up? For us, that could be a problem.
We finally make it out of the airport and onto the A1 the toll road that runs the length of Italy. Getting on in Milan and exiting at Florence, which we did, was 22 EU about $30. About halfway to Villa Le Barone, I needed to stop and use the toilette and get some caffeine in me. The rest stops in Italy make Buc-ee’s in Texas look like a mini mart. Cars everywhere. I decided that even though my hubby wasn’t supposed to drive I needed a break. Now my husband learned to drive in a VW bug in Central Park and it’s been even longer for him to drive a stick, much less one of these new 6 gear things. If I knew what was going to happen next, I would not have parked facing a concrete trash can. Me thinks you get the picture. He thinks he has it in reverse but nnnnnoooooo. It’s in 1st gear! Let’s just say it was a teeny weeny little dent…and a teeny weeny little scrape. We have always used our AMEX card’s insurance to cover the car but guess what? It doesn’t work in Italy! Yeah! After three abortive backups, my husband finally does the womanly thing and asks a kid standing by how to put it in reverse. The kid is about 18 or so. He’s laughing and probably thinking “you stupido Americanos”. All we needed to do was pull up on this little thingy that was located at the base of the stick and it smoothly slides into reverse. Stop laughing. By the way. When we were on our last trip ti Italy and drove, you did not need an international driver’s license. Now you do. Just go to a AAA and you can get one for $35 and that includes two very sexy, photo shopped passport pics. Driving on the A1 is a lot like being in a Super Mario Brothers video game. All these little bitty cars moving from lane to lane to lane. And let me tell you this. If you’re in the left lane and are not leading the traffic, you had better get the hell out of the way. They get right on your ass until you think they’re crawling up there.
Off we go on our adventure. After a few sharp lefts and a few sharp rights, we’re in this little village and the GPS is telling us “you’ve arrived at your destination”. Huh? We’re looking at an old church. Ooops. There’s the sign for the Villa. We’ve arrived! Our friends are already there. They are staying in Italy for two weeks and, therefore, also have a car. One that is an automatic. Let’s use your car, Okay? Coming soon part tre…(Three in Italian)